Bent Sæther (Motorpsycho): “Keep searching with open ears, and the muse won’t desert you!”

The upcoming show of Motorpsycho on September 20th at Fuzz Club in Athens may be for some the concert of the year in Greece. That is, bebause the band is probably at its creative peak during the 2010’s and because their fame for their onstage presence is almost mythical. This year’s The Crucible (our reviews here) is a strong candidate for album of the year and the timing was perfect to chat with Bent Sæther (bass/ vocals). 

Questions: Dimitris Kaltsas

Hello guys! A few days before your upcoming show at Fuzz Club in Athens, what do you expect to find? What do you know about your fans in Greece?

Weeell…, not a whole lot actually! We only played in Greece once before back in 2002 (I think?), so it’ll be really interesting to see if anybody remembers us or if we’ve gained any new ones!

E.N. Motorpsycho played in Athens on October 6th 21001.

It’s been more than half a year since The Crucible was released. By the way, congrats on that, I can’t stop listening to it. How has the reception of the album been till this day?

Really good: positive reviews everywhere and lots of attention, so we’re really happy with how it all has panned out!

Tomas (Järmyr) seems to be the perfect fit for the band, although Kenneth was a band member for a decade or so. Was the chemistry so great from the first sessions with him?  

It always takes a while to lock in, but he’s a real easy fit for me as a bassist. He is a fantastically open eared and musical guy and it got real good pretty fast. Impressively fast, really!

Since Lobotomizer you’ve changed your style numerous times (and you’re quite famous for that). Do you think that now you’ve settled on your favorite sound or is there a possibility of another major change in the near future?

We never thought of it as changing our style as much as letting the natural development run its course and take us to the next logical spot. I doubt we’ll ever sit down and say ‘this is the musical style we’ll stick to forever’, because we find interesting and inspiring aspects in any musical style, and don’t really find any such better than any other. it’s the finding and the finding out of that we like.

Even though you had released 13 albums until 2009, your creativity in the 2010s is unparalleled. What is the secret of your songwriting?

Well, not settling in any style or limiting the writing to a certain type of music is kinda the trick, because it is in the finding of new stuff that the excitement lives. Keep searching with open ears, and the muse won’t desert you!

I think that the rock scene in Norway today is the most interesting thing in music worldwide. Do you acknowledge the presence of a “scene”? What are your favorite active Norwegian bands?

There sure are a whole lot of interesting bands in Norway at the moment, but i dunno if you can call it a scene or not… we are of a slightly older vintage than most newer bands, so we’re probably not as connected to the new bands or scenes as we used to be, but we hear stuff and like a lot of the new stuff we hear, so… my faves lately are Needlepoint, Astrosaur, Krokofant and Elephant9.

I guess you’re fans of several 70s prog bands. What is your opinion on progressive rock music today and the legacy of the 70s sound?

There is a sense that rock as a musical style is well into entering a second or third phase where it’s not the mainstream’s choice anymore and is becoming more of a niche thing like jazz.

But people are mixing up different musics more and more, and newer stuff is finding new technologies and other focuses than earlier generations, so there is still music left in the style to put it that way.

I am bored to tears by 95% of new prog music though – it seems like all those bands are playing the style instead of using the principles that made those 70s records and albums so great. There isn’t much sense of exploration there, but an overreliance on mid period Tony Banks / Genesis stylings, so…

Your setlist is always a surprise and changes from day to day (which is amazing). Have you prepared anything special for September 20th or will that be a last minute decision?

The setlist is always a last minute decision, and will be so on September 20th too!

Congrats on The Crucible and a great, long and adventurous career. We’ll see you in Athens!  

Cheers, we-are really looking forwards to going! See ya!


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